Atlantic Whale and Dolphin Foundation



Petition: Save the Vaquita Porpoise

One method of conservation activism regularly employed by the Atlantic Whale Foundation is circulating petitions around the whale watching boats to further educate tourists on different cetacean-related issues from all corners of the world. Petitions are an excellent way for our volunteers to break the ice and start conversations with tourists, whom, more often than not, are very interested in getting involved and are more than happy to sign a petition for a good cause.

Our current petition in circulation is raising awareness about the plight of the Vaquita porpoise, the rarest species of cetacean found only in the Gulf of California. It is especially important that action is taken to protect these creatures, as it is estimated there is only 58 remaining in the wild. The Vaquita have been pushed to the brink of extinction due to the illegal use of gillnets by fisherman trying to catch endangered Totoaba fish in the Gulf. The Vaquita become entangled in these nets and often die from shock and stress after being unable to free themselves.


Despite the ban on using gillnets, fisherman still continue to employ these practices to harvest the swim bladders from the Totoaba fish, which can sell for up to $3.6 million for 200 swim bladders (2013 prices) in Chinese markets, where they are considered a delicacy.

Organisations like Sea Shepherd have recently done a lot of work to remove illegal gillnets as well as partnering with Mexican officials to ensure that this illegal practice does not continue, but still the Vaquita remain critically endangered, and more needs to be done to ensure that they do not go completely extinct within the next few years.

To sign the current petition click here

For more information about the Vaquita, please check out

Viva Vaquita

Save the Whales

Save Our Species


Pilot Whales of Tenerife

The most commonly sighted cetacean species off the coast of Tenerife is the short-finned pilot whale. Pilot Whales are actually a species of dolphin, and range in size, with males usually being around 5.5 meters and females 3.7 meters. They are very social animals, and stick in pods with typically 10-20 individuals.


On whale watching tours, tourists generally have several interactions with groups of pilot whales, which can last up to 15 minutes. The boat captains are specially trained to navigate appropriately around the pods, so that tourists get a good view but the whales are also protected. Boats with captains who have special whale watching certifications have a special flag to denote their qualification.


Over the years at AWF, our volunteers have collected fin shots and behavioural data on several of the pilot whales, whom we’ve identified through photographs over the years. The whales are identified by the shape of their dorsal fin as well as any notches or marks in the fin, either from fighting other whales or boat impact.


The pilot whales seen on the tours off Tenerife are friendly and curious animals. Often they are seen diving and surfacing near the boats, swimming in the waves made by the boat and checking the tourists out with behaviours such as spy-hopping (pictured above).

These creatures are truly incredible to encounter in their natural habitats, and in Tenerife, tourists are especially lucky because they generally will see many during a boat tour of just a few hours.

10 Ways You Can Help Save the Whales!

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when it comes to tackling global scale environmental problems, especially when acting on the individual level. While change doesn’t always happen overnight, there are plenty of ways that individuals can get involved to help work towards conservation of the threatened species of our oceans. Every little bit helps, and without positive, conservation-focused attitudes, the world will not change for the better.

  1. Don’t support companies that profit off captivity! Take your children on whale watching tours in the ocean when on vacation instead, to see the beautiful creatures in their natural habitatscaptiv.jpg
  2. Use reusable products instead of plastic disposable ones, like water bottles and bags. Unnecessary plastic consumption has led to our oceans being saturated with garbage, which gets into fish and eventually whales and dolphins. Without humans reducing our plastic consumption, certain reports predict that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.
  3. Eat sustainable fish species, check out Seafood Watch to find information on which species are most sustainable to consume, and which should be avoided entirely
  4. Organise or participate in a beach clean. Sort the materials cleaned off the beach into trash and recycling. beachclean.jpg
  5. Don’t use products with harmful chemicals or microbeads. These solutions end up in the water systems and eventually the oceans, further degrading the habitat of our beautiful whales and dolphins.
  6. Donate to whale conservation organisations, such as Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd
  7. Sign a petition against illegal commercial whaling that is still happening today in Japan, and against use of gillnets in Mexico which is decimating the remaining population of the Vaquita porpoise.vaquita.jpeg
  8. Educate children on the importance of ocean and species conservation. Passing down knowledge and understanding of why we need to protect our planet is key for our future. delfie1.jpg
  9. Organise a documentary night among family and friends – watch The Cove or Blackfish to spread awareness about the harmful effects of captivity on cetaceans  
  10. Support Atlantic Whale Foundation in our mission to partner with ocean conservation projects across the Atlantic and for our research and educational programs in Tenerife! Together, we can make a difference. awf

Blog at

Up ↑